Happy Birthday, Parkway

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    For Americans, September 11 is a sad day, a day to remember the 3,000 innocents who gave their lives because of a meglomaniac terrorist and his henchmen. However, today also is the anniversary of something wonderful in the history of Virginia. It was on September 11, 1935, that ground was first broken on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a federal “stimulus project” during the Great Depression, one that ultimately joined Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smokey Mountain National Park in North Carolina.

    The scenic highway stretches 469 miles and still brings money and jobs to the Appalachian region.

    Among dignitaries at Friday’s ceremony kicking off a celebration of the Parkway, was Rep. Rick Boucher, who noted how vital the highway has been in helping preserve and promote the culture of the people who made their home in the Blue Ridge. “Traditional music was founded…in these Blue Ridge Mountains,” said Boucher, who worked to secure federal funds to build the Blue Ridge Music Center. “It all started here on the border of Virginia and North Carolina.”

    Now, visitors can follow the Crooked Road music trail, visit the Round the Mountain folk artisans network, attend the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention, which also is celebrating its 75th anniversary, in addition to camping and historic sights.

    North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D), who who was born in Grundy VA, called the parkway “one of the great gifts to the global population. Happy birthday, Parkway. We’ll all be back.”